Together with collaborators in the division of cardiology at UNC-Chapel Hill, Ke Cheng, BME and Regenerative Medicine Professor at NC State, has developed and tested a method to utilize the pericardial cavity as a natural “mold” for in situ cardiac patch formation after intrapericardial (iPC) injection of therapeutics in biocompatible hydrogels. Injecting hydrogels containing stem cell or exosome therapeutics directly into the pericardial cavity could be a less invasive, less costly, and more effective means of treating cardiac injury and repair.
The team turned to a pig model to test the procedure’s safety and feasibility. They delivered the iPC injections using a minimally invasive procedure that required only two small incisions, then monitored the pigs for adverse effects. They found no breathing complications, pericardial inflammation, or changes in blood chemistry up to three days post-procedure. Professor Cheng said “our early results are promising – the method is safe and generates a higher retention rate of therapeutics than those currently in use. Next we will perform additional preclinical studies in large animals to further test the safety and efficacy of this therapy, before we can start a clinical trial.” To read the news release, visit NC State website here.